Challenge Your ExpensesGrayson talked the other day about how you can save money by simply asking for a discount.  And it’s true: many times we leave money on the table simply because we refuse to ask about how we might be able to get a discount.    I learned a lesson in this another way last week.

Save Money by Challenging Every Expense

Our car insurance rates have been a bit higher than we probably could’ve paid with another company, but since the auto policy got us a great homeowners policy rate, I’ve left it alone.  That all changed a couple of weeks ago.  Our oldest daughter turned 15 last month, so I contacted our insurance agent to find out what the laws were about adding her as a driver onto our policy (mistake number 1.  Lesson learned?  Do an internet search next time).  Turns out we don’t have to pay a dime for her in auto insurance until she’s a licensed driver: the learner permit stage is covered under our policy.  Woohoo! I thought. I don’t have to shell out money for that for another year.

Well, turns out, I was wrong.  Less than 10 days after I asked my agent that question, I got a notice in the mail stating that our auto insurance policy would be going up by $22 a month!!!!  When I questioned the agent, he said “Insurance rates are rising due to the high number of accidents attributed to inattentive driving.  Nothing I can do for you. “

I knew this was a line of bull, and I was ticked.  I was fairly certain he raised the rates on the sole basis of knowing that we’ve got an “at risk” driver in the house now, but I couldn’t prove it, and he refused to admit this and lower our rates back down.

So what did I do?  I challenged the expense.  I started calling around to get quotes from other companies, and after not much work, found a respectable company that would not only insure us for over $70 LESS a month than our new rate, but would also give us a homeowners policy for $200 less a year than our previous company gave us!!  The result: over $1,000 more a year in our pockets.

The lesson learned?  Don’t be afraid to challenge every single expense you have.  Whether you challenge it by asking for a discount, or by going to another company for your business, refuse to pay more than you need to unless you find it’s really worth it.

Challenge your grocery budget, your cable TV budget, your car maintenance budget, and entertainment budget.  In nearly every instance, you can find a way to cut costs if you’re willing to challenge your expenses.  Challenge yourself to spend less on entertainment and find fun free things to do each month.  Challenge your grocery budget by making a goal to cut the percentage spent by 10%.

Choose to push yourself and your savings to the next level by not settling for status quo when it comes to what you spend in each area every month, and see if you can find ways to cut costs.  Then, put the extra cash in savings or toward debt in order to catapult your run to debt freedom or financial independence.

Do you challenge your expenses each month to see where you can cut costs?  What other tips do you have for cutting expenses?

I’ve Been Cable Free for 5 Years and Still Watch TV

While in debt, I cut cable and haven’t looked back. It’s easier than you think especially with new services out on the market. One of my favorites is Sling TV, which allows you to watch live TV on the internet. It’s awesome. Check out my Sling TV review.

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